regulating cyber-racism - Melbourne Law School

Jul 10, 2017 - Cyber-racism and other forms of cyber-bullying have become an ..... host or index online content', such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. We will ... that racism has come to be used as an umbrella term to refer to a ...
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REGUL ATING CYBER-RACISM GAIL MASON*

AND

N ATA L I E C Z A P S K I †

Cyber-racism and other forms of cyber-bullying have become an increasing part of the internet mainstream, with 35% of Australian internet users witnessing such behaviour online. Cyber-racism poses a double challenge for effective regulation: a lack of consensus on how to define unacceptable expressions of racism; and the novel and unprecedented ways in which racism can flourish on the internet. The regulation of racism on the internet sits at the crossroads of different legal domains, but there has never been a comprehensive evaluation of these channels. This article examines the current legal and regulatory terrain around cyber-racism in Australia. This analysis exposes a gap in the capacity of current regulatory mechanisms to provide a prompt, efficient and enforceable system for responding to harmful online content of a racial nature. Drawing on recent legislative developments in tackling harmful content online, we consider the potential benefits and limitations of key elements of a civil penalties scheme to fill the gap in the present regulatory environment. We argue for a multifaceted approach, which encompasses enforcement mechanisms to target both perpetrators and intermediaries once inplatform avenues are exhausted. Through our proposal, we can strengthen the arsenal of tools we have to deal with cyber-racism.

CONTENTS I Introduction ................................................................................................................... 2  II The Double Challenge of Cyber-Racism ................................................................... 4  A Defining Racism and Racist Speech .............................................................. 4  B Defining Cyber-Racism................................................................................... 9  C Conclusion: The Double Challenge of Cyber-Racism ..............................13  III The Current Legal and Regulatory Terrain .............................................................14  A Federal and State/Territory Racial Vilification Laws.................................14  * LLB (Qld), DipCrim (Melb), MA (Rutgers), PhD (La Trobe); Professor of Criminology, The University of Sydney. This research is supported by the Australian Research Council (LP120200115) and is part of a larger project on cyber-racism and community resilience. We would like to thank Dr Andre Oboler, CEO, Online Hate Prevention Institute for his advice on this research and Andrew Dyer for research assistance. We would also like to thank Alistair MacGibbon, the former Children’s eSafety Commissioner, and Sharon Trotter, Manager Online Content, Office of the eSafety Commissioner, for their valuable insights. † BA, LLB (Hons) (Syd); Research Assistant, Cyber-Racism and Community Resilience Project.

Cite as: Gail Mason and Natalie Czapski, ‘Regulating Cyber-Racism’ 2017 41(1) Melbourne University Law Review (advance)

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Melbourne University Law Review

[Vol 41(1):Adv

1  Civil Racial Vilification Laws ...........................................................14  2  Criminal Racial Vilification Laws ...................................................18  B Criminal Law: Application to the Internet .................................................19  1  Commonwealth Telecommunications Offences ...........................19  2  State and Territory Legislation ........................................................22  C The BSA and Cyber-Bullying Legislation ...................................................24  1  Online Content Scheme within Schedules 5 and 7 of the BSA ...24  2  Cyber-Bullying Legislation ..............................................................27  D Intermediary Terms of Service and Codes of Conduct ............................28  E International Protocols and Standards ........................................................32  F Conclusion .....